My website was down from 15:00Z to 22:00Z today (10 A.M. to 5 P.M. EST). This was the fault of my host, Netfirms, as they lost power today, and their backup generators failed. More about this here. So, while they claim to host one million websites, for seven hours today, they hosted zero (even their own was down for most of that time).
I get the most traffic on Saturday, so this was quite disappointing for me. I called them and was told I could write to email@example.com, and they may consider compensating me. Here’s what I said:
My name is Richard X. Thripp and I’ve been a loyal Netfirms customer since August. I’ve been using your web hosting service extensively in the past two months, and have found it be good for hosting my WordPress photo-blog/shop at http://thripp.com/.
I was shocked finding my website to be down this morning, and read online that you’d suffered a power outage, which is why your phones and website weren’t working either. It was from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. EST today, Saturday, February 23, that my site was inaccessible. This was a bad time for me, as I’d just completed a print-based advertising campaign that went out to over 2000 people this week, and during the day on Saturday is when my website is busiest normally.
I called in and was told to email you to discuss compensation. It’s not so much the lost sales and ad revenue that bothers me, but rather the distrust and confusion among my clients and readership. The outage came at a bad time for me, so whatever you can offer will be appreciated.
[The “print campaign” started at the beginning of the month; I gave away over 2000 4*6 art prints, with my website on the back, to local art lovers.]
If you were affected, send them a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At least I’m back for now.
Thank you all for your support and patience while we worked on restoring services and fielding inquiries yesterday. I also understand that many of you had to endure a tough Saturday during this service interruption.
All websites are fully functional with data intact and your queued e-mails delivered by now.
To summarize, we experienced a total loss of power at our primary datacenter facility housing the Netfirms corporate sites and a large number of our hosted customer websites. During routine power maintenance by the facility at around 10:30 AM ET, all that redundant power that was supposed to kick in did not. We depend on our datacenter for clean reliable power. Being at a facility with over 18 power generators and housing almost every major carrier in North America, this was hard to swallow. While we got normal power resumed in about an hour, it took us longer to get the network reconfigured and hundreds of servers back online, properly configured.
At our corporate office, with websites being unavailable, we received a massive surge in phone calls, completely overwhelming our call center phone circuits. We had every team member from billing, sales and customer service responding to customers. There are definitely some changes we’ll make to ensure we are able to communicate updates better to you.
Over the past 10 years, our Technology Team has worked hard to ensure everything about our platform is more reliable, functional and redundant including web serving, email delivery, database, dns, file storage, routers, firewalls and network providers. Our Technology team will be making some changes to prevent such an extended service interruption including expanded usage of our secondary datacenter and of course our current power feeds, something we have taken for granted over the years.
If you have any questions, we are here to help.
I suppose that sounds reasonable enough. Don’t let it happen again, Netfirms!